An X-ray is a diagnostic imaging tool used to create pictures of the inside of the body. The images are created when high-speed electrons strike a heavy metal target, like tungston, which decreases the electron speed resulting in forming X-rays. Parts of the body that are denser, such as bones, absorb more radiation and appear brighter on X-ray images. Softer parts of the body, such as muscle and fat, appear darker.
X-rays are used to diagnose broken and fractured bones, joint problems, tumors, some infections, enlarged organs and some digestive problems. X-rays are quick and painless. The amount of radiation exposure from an X-ray is very small, but young children and babies in the womb are more sensitive to the risks of exposure. Inform your doctor or the X-ray technologist if you are pregnant.
X-rays are available at the following Scripps Health imaging locations in San Diego County.